Sharing their love for the craft, one workshop at a time
Alex and Lane Van Doren run one of the most successful and fun art workshops in town. You can feel their passion and the love of what they do: a passion for the craft that really comes through when they are in the studio with folks during their sessions.
They have been producing commission metal art together for over 20 years so they have become very skilled at teaching others to become quickly proficient at mastering tools and equipment. “Most of our participants get to us through word-of-mouth referrals from past attendees who have loved their experiences,” said Alex, Lane’s son. “We have just been so humbled by the response”.
One fun fact that attendees might not be aware of is that they are completely solar powered in the workshop and source all their materials and foods locally/regionally. This allows them to have a very small carbon footprint as well as support the local community. Another fact is that they have been the #1 rated Trip Advisor Class/Workshop for the last 2 years in a row, receiving the coveted ‘Certificate of Excellence Award.’ “We have only ever gotten 5 star reviews from folks who have attended the workshop; 160 and counting so far,” commented Alex. They also do 1 and 2-day sessions for families with kids as young as ten.
“I love doing workshops,” said Alex, “because I feel so good about passing on our artistry to people who are interested in learning a new medium or just getting more skilled if they have some previous experience. It is the best feeling to see people's eyes light up as they find a passion for metal art. It is so safe and easy to learn that people take right to it. The workshops are the best part of my week”.
“We also have an opportunity to do a ton of fund-raising through the workshops, whether raffling off sessions for local charities or holding fund-raisers for folks in need locally/regionally. The workshops keep us connected to the community and allow us to give back and share in the success that we have had.”
How did the Van Doren’s arrive in San Miguel? “My father and I had a commission metal art business based in Northern California for years, and he decided it was time to at least semi-retire. We found San Miguel back in 2005 and he and my mother moved to San Miguel. My wife and I would visit and always say, “We have to move here! Finally, we made the leap about four years ago and haven't looked back. Once we were here we re-opened the commission art business and also started the workshop as people had been asking us to do it for years.”
They typically hold sessions two days a week coinciding with their commission work schedule. They limit the workshops to just four people per session to ensure everyone has a wonderful hands-on experience. The workshops run from 10am- 2:30-3pm each day with a gourmet lunch and wine pairing in the middle of both days. They also do weekly one-day sessions for folks that are either in town for a short time or just too busy to be able to come for two days in a row. The Van Doren’s are always happy to have visitors into the studio if they are thinking about taking a workshop or would like to talk to them about a commission art piece. You can find them most days doing commission work if they don't have a workshop on the schedule. The studio is in Los Frailes, just a quick 10 minute cab ride from Centro. Se Habla Español!